No this is not a post about a loose sleeveless coat or outer covering, or part of our earthly structure, or even an animal part. No. This is about the wonderful MANTLEconference that I spoke at in Newcastle yesterday. The MANTLE Conference is the annual professional conference of all teacher librarians in the Newcastle, Maitland, Taree, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast districts with more than 110 rolling in. What a brilliantly organised conference – complete with trade fair and goodie bags for delegates (and presenters too) with choccies, drink bottle and a 2GB memory disk disguised in the clasp of the lanyard. Clever bunch these organisers. One of the most difficult things to do at a conference is to collect the name tags so to do this the Mantle crew have at the end of the day lucky door prizes that are drawn — to be eligible you have to return the badge! Smart one!

I was absolutely thrilled to be the Keynote Speaker for the conference and my topic was about a subject that I know best – ME – and exploring my involvement with the National Year of Reading, my  ambassadorship of the National Year of Reading and why I wanted to jump aboard. And as is my way I threw in a whole lot of there bits and pieces as well – including Sounds Spooky and Python as well as a little commentary on society and the value of literature and the arts (or lack of it) and Picture Book Month.

I also presented a session on engaging reluctant readers, which I found out as my session was being introduced, was the number one requested session from the 2011 evaluation – glad they didn’t tell me that when they asked me to talk on the topic. I would have flown into a mild panic. Also attending was my lovely friend Sarah Davis (i was able to pass to her a dining chair we uncovered in our lane – i only had to drive for 2 1/2 hours to give it to her!) and also Sue McKerracher (from National Year of Reading – NYR) and Karen Bonanno (Australian School Library Association (ASLA). Great to meet Karen for the first time and catch up again with Sue, who also gave me the photos of taken of me at the launch of NYR in Canberra earlier this year. And folks were taking notes as i was talking … I still get amazed when folks are taking notes on the topics I talk about!

This photo, with Lara O’Donoghue (conference organiser and Ian McLean, TL from Penrith primary school) was taken straight after my keynote and sent around the world on Facebook – I know because folks showed me!

at the start of the day
I told them they would be blogged!

It was lovely chit chatting with many of the TLs after the sessions and meeting in person a few who I have only ever met in cyberspace. A few emails have appeared in the inbox already. See some of you soon!

Thanks folks for a lovely time.

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